Does the holiday season sound something like this? I want, I want and I want more? Are there unopened toys or an abundance of stuff and a drought of value? We love our children and they love us so, how do we teach them the benefits of giving back to others? How do we encourage them to give to others so they can be the receiver of having a sense of empowerment, feeling valued and appreciated?
Here Are a Few Easy Suggestions:
1- Many young children want to be a Police Officer, Firefighter, Soldier or teacher when they grow up. If your children wants to be in public service, they can bake a treat or mail a letter or draw a picture to someone in that profession.
2- Read a story to the residents in a nursing or adult home. The elderly love children and will be talking about the visit for days to follow!
3- Bring a new stuffed animal to a child who is in the hospital (usually immune systems are comprised so the toy will probably need to be new).
4- So many children have unopened gifts. Return one and use the money to buy a gift for a person in need.
5- Ask a neighbor if they need help decorating their house for the holidays.
Here Are Ways to Encourage Your Child:
Lots of times the efforts of gift giving can become a bonding experience. With the special memories that are made, children may decide to continue volunteering or doing acts of kindness throughout the year.
1- If your child is hesitant, tell him or her it only takes a couple of minutes to write a card and prove it to them. With your child gather the necessary supplies to make a card and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the bell rings, your child can stop if he/she wants.
2- Introduce a special memory or story by reminiscing about a time when someone helped you, your child or the feeling you had when you helped another person. If you have available, show them a picture or some kind of visual to help the memory come alive. Trying to make your memory a story as real as possible will help interest your child. If your child would like, share with the teacher how he/she is working to be a good citizen. The teacher can help support this effort and positive peer reaction always adds excitement!
3- Another approach is to offer choices. Choices can be given in the form of pictures, magazines articles or stories and they can choose which place or population they would like to visit or give to.
4- To begin the concept of helping others, (although I’m sure you help your child every day) ask your child what you can do to “help them.” This will help create a current opportunity to talk about how it feels to be on the receiving end of someone doing something thoughtful for another person.